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Mass Media: History & Development: First Amendment Paper

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Exceptions to the First Amendment

This document, Freedom of Speech and Press: Exceptions to the First Amendment, is by legislative attorney Kathleen Ann Ruane and published by Congressional Research Service. (Available online at:

From the Summary:

"This report provides an overview of the major exceptions to the First Amendment—of the ways that the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee of freedom of speech and press to provide no protection or only limited protection for some types of speech. For example, the Court has decided that the First Amendment provides no protection for obscenity, child pornography, or speech that constitutes what has become widely known as “fighting words.” The Court has also decided that the First Amendment provides less than full protection to commercial speech, defamation (libel and slander), speech that may be harmful to children, speech broadcast on radio and television (as opposed to speech transmitted via cable or the Internet), and public employees’ speech."

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